Ahh summer in New England—is there anything like it?? If you’re like us, southern Maine and coastal New Hampshire beaches call our names year-round for a variety of reasons—from long summer days spent in the water, to early morning sandy strolls in the fall.

Below we share some of our favorite Seacoast beaches and what makes them sparkle! From the south to north we have…

SOUTHERN NEW HAMPSHIRE BEACHES

MAP TO SOUTHERN NEW HAMPSHIRE BEACHES

Hampton Beach | Hampton, NH

New Hampshire’s most popular beach (along its 17-mile coastline!), Hampton Beach is a very popular destination during the summer months. Bursting with restaurants, shops, arcades, and live music venues that are densely located on the strip across from the beach and boardwalk, Hampton Beach is a summer scene with a lot going on, besides the sandy shores and big waves! Take in a show at the Casino Ballroom, which often hosts big-name acts, or enjoy local music, movies on the beach, and fireworks that happen almost every night. Check out the up-to-date details on Hampton Beach happenings

Located slightly north of Hampton Beach in a more laid-back area, is North Beach and The Wall, a popular surf spot. If you need any surf gear or cool beachy products, just pop across the street to Cinnamon Rainbows Surf Shop

There are tons of restaurants within walking distance from the beach, where it’s super acceptable to dine in your beachwear! Some not to miss spots include Cristy’s Pizza, Blink’s Frydoe, and Bernie’s Beach Bar! Plus, tons of casual bars within walking distance from the beach—grab a beverage,  cool off and get out of the sun for a bit! 

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HOURS: Dawn to dusk, however you’ll find people on the beach after dark

PARKING: Primarily metered 8am-midnight; $15/vehicle at South Beach, seniors park free

PUBLIC RESTROOMS: Yes, several spots located along the beach

DOG-FRIENDLY: Dogs allowed October 1 to April 30 only

LIFEGUARD: On duty June 15 to September 8, 9am-5:30pm daily


Jenness Beach | Rye, NH

Jenness Beach is a New Hampshire-owned state park that is family-friendly and great for surfing! Here, you’ll find a newly-renovated bathhouse and paid parking in front (if you can’t find a spot, snag one along the main road to park for the day for free!). 

Hop across the street to Summer Sessions Surf Shop for gear, picnic essentials, surf lessons, or a morning coffee, or pop over to The Carriage House after a leisurely day at the beach for a hearty dinner and refreshing cocktails! 

Do your kids love to surf? Check out Summer Sessions kids surf camp!

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HOURS: Dawn-dusk, however generally speaking it follows town rules—sunrise to midnight you’re okay

ACTIVITIES: Swimming, surfing

PARKING: Metered lot in front of beach, 8am-midnight, free parking along the main road

PUBLIC RESTROOMS: Yes, open 8am-8pm, May 31 to October 31

DOG-FRIENDLY: Dogs not allowed at any time

LIFEGUARD: On duty May 25 to August, 10am-4:45pm


Wallis Sands Beach | Rye, NH

Wallis Sands Beach and state park offers beautiful sandy shores with a nice grass area for lawn games and picnics. There is a large parking area here (500 spaces to be exact!), so you’re likely to find a place for your car, though paid parking is pretty much the only option here in-season. Surf shops and a few restaurants are located nearby (toward the southern end of Wallis Sands Beach—an area locally referred to as Pirate’s Cove Beach), but still about a short distance from the main beach area. This is not a popular spot for surfers, definitely more of a family destination.

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HOURS: Dawn-dusk, however generally speaking it follows town rules—sunrise to midnight you’re okay

ACTIVITIES: Swimming, surfing, picnicking

PARKING: $15/vehicle, Season passes available, Seniors 65+ park for free

PUBLIC RESTROOMS: Yes

DOG-FRIENDLY: Dogs not allowed at any time

LIFEGUARD: On duty May 25 to September 8, 10am-5pm


Great Island Common | New Castle, NH

Great Island Common aka New Castle Beach is calm, tiny wave beach tucked away from the typical summer beach scene and offers both rocky sections (great for tide pooling!), and sandy sections as well. Since parking stickers are required (at the entrance closest to the Coast Guard station), many visitors opt to spend the day here while also enjoying picnics and barbecues at the Great Island Common that sits on the other entrance of the beach.

This park has volleyball nets, grills, a playground, and plenty of open grass areas for a full day of fun! Perfect spot for families! The beach is a mix of sandy and rocky—gets very rocky closer to the water—so water shoes are a great idea, especially for kids. This is not the place to go if you’re looking to surf!

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HOURS: 9am-9pm year-round

ACTIVITIES: Playground, green area, pavilions for parties/picnics/grilling, swimming, volleyball

PARKING: General admission fee $2-4/person or season pass, Free for New Castle residents, with sticker

PUBLIC RESTROOMS: Yes

DOG-FRIENDLY: Dogs not allowed May 15 to September 15

LIFEGUARD: No lifeguard on duty


SOUTHERN MAINE BEACHES

MAP TO SOUTHERN MAINE BEACHES

Fort Foster | Kittery Point, ME

Fort Foster is the perfect spot for families—close to the beach parking, sandy and green space—with a great playground, and the fort itself to explore. They have a couple of pavilions available for rent—a great spot for outdoor private parties.

Walk out to the lighthouse, with your pup (on-leash!). Make sure to check on the tides, as when the tide is higher there’s not much beach space (on the rockier-side) here.

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HOURS: Memorial Day to Labor Day, 10am to 8pm, seven days a week

ACTIVITIES: Marked walking trails, picnic and grilling areas, recreation areas for groups, pavilion area available to rent for groups up to 100, long pier, rocky beach.

PARKING: Season Passes: $75 for non-residents, $20 for Kittery/Kittery Point residents, $5 for senior residents (purchase at the Kittery Town Hall) Car Day Passes: $20/car (includes occupants) Walk/Bike Passes: $5 for adults $1 for kids

PUBLIC RESTROOMS: Yes

DOG-FRIENDLY:  Dogs allowed on-leash. 

LIFEGUARD: No lifeguard on duty


Seapoint Beach | Kittery Point, ME

Enjoy a beautiful, scenic drive on Route 103 to the locals’ beach! Great spot for a very relaxing, beach day. The beach itself is very rocky, with quite a bit of seaweed on the beach, but still has a great amount of sandy space. A popular spot to walk your dog, as they are only banned during the prime summer daytime hours (10am-5pm) and allowed on leashes the rest of the time.

Walk out to the point and check out the Isle of Shoals from afar! Very limited parking, especially for non-Kittery residents. Whatever you do, do not park in the residents’ spaces if you’re not a resident—they are diligent with ticketing here. 

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HOURS: 3am-11pm, May 15-September 30

PARKING: Free limited parking, space closer to the beach for Kittery residents only (with valid Kittery dump sticker). Parking not allowed from 11pm-3am.

PUBLIC RESTROOMS: No

DOG-FRIENDLY: Dogs not allowed 10am to 5pm from June 15th – Sept 10th. Dogs are allowed on-leash the rest of the time.

LIFEGUARD: No lifeguard on duty


York Harbor Beach | York, ME

A mix of York locals and visitors, many from the Stage Neck Inn located close by, spend their beach days here. Only York residents are allowed to park in the parking lot, which helps keep the space more of a local’s spot. With lots of green space on the hill above the beach, it’s a great place for picnics with a view! 

Less than a five-minute drive to York Village, grab a fantastic breakfast/brunch/lunch at Rick’s Restaurant (it’s been around for decades but under new ownership for the last few years and the food is GREAT). If you find yourself by the beach in the evening, hop over to The Ship’s Cellar Pub at York Harbor Inn, located at the top of the hill for a pint and some live music on Fridays and Saturdays. 

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HOURS: Not specified

ACTIVITIES: Tidepooling

PARKING: Lot is for permit-holders only, York residents. Visitors can find limited, free street parking on top of the hill (but limited to two hours), near York Harbor Inn.

PUBLIC RESTROOMS: Yes

DOG-FRIENDLY: Dogs not allowed from May 20th to September 20th, 8am-6pm. Dogs allowed on-leash only, May 20th-September 20th between 6pm and sunrise

LIFEGUARDS: On-duty as of the last week in June through Labor Day, 9:30am to 4:30pm


Long Sands | York, ME

Love long walks on the beach? This is your spot—hands down the best beach in York for a looong walk—featuring one mile of sandy beach! This is also the local’s spot for surfers—check out Liquid Dreams Surf Shop for apparel, gear, and lessons!

Lots of seasonal places to stay, and bed & breakfasts very close to Long Sands. If you’re driving in, parking is metered all along the beach and they added new bathrooms in 2018, located to the northern side of the beach. Sometimes, they have live music here too! 

Located between York Harbor Beach and Short Sands, it’s the perfect place for your beach run, walk, surf, skimboarding session! Drop by The Central Bean & Bakery on your way in to grab a sandwich, salad, and yummy baked goods, or enjoy an oceanfront dinner at Stone’s Throw across the street from the beach. 

Worth the drive after—hit up Dunne’s Ice Cream for your sweet fix, and check out York’s famous Nubble Lighthouse.

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HOURS: Not specified

ACTIVITIES: Surfing

PARKING: Metered and kiosk spots along the beach, season permits available for $40 for York residents, purchased at the Town Clerk’s office

DOG-FRIENDLY: Dogs not allowed from May 20th to September 20th, 8am-6pm. Dogs allowed on-leash only, May 20th-September 20th between 6pm and sunrise

LIFEGUARDS: On-duty as of the last week in June through Labor Day, 9:30am to 4:30pm


Short Sands | York, ME

Lots of visitors flock to this bustling beach each summer! Located just steps from great shops (Don’t miss Wheat Boutique!) an old-school-style arcade Fun-O-Rama, basketball court, playground, green space, and the Seacoast’s zoo—York’s Wild Animal Kingdom, this is a one-stop-shop for so many family-friendly activities. 

The Golden Rod is a must visit—the place for saltwater taffy since 1896! In the evenings, check out the live music at Inn on the Blues almost every night, plus Karaoke Mondays and Reggae Tuesdays!

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HOURS: Not specified

ACTIVITIES: Playground, basketball courts, gazebo, grassy park

PARKING: Metered lot right next to the beach, and on-street metered spots

PUBLIC RESTROOMS: Yes

DOG-FRIENDLY: Dogs not allowed from May 20th to September 20th, 8am-6pm. Dogs allowed on-leash only, May 20th-September 20th between 6pm and sunrise

LIFEGUARDS: On-duty as of the last week in June through Labor Day, 9:30am to 4:30pm


Ogunquit Beach | Ogunquit, ME

Located walking distance from downtown Ogunquit, Ogunquit Beach is surrounded by the ocean, the Ogunquit River, sand dunes galore, and the famous Marginal Way walking path. A patio with Adirondack chairs sits at the beach entrance and is open to the public—a beautiful spot to spend the morning reading the paper, drinking coffee, and watching surfers hit the waves. 

Little Beach (as the locals refer to it) is on the opposite side of Ogunquit Beach and sits along the Ogunquit River. This part of the beach is especially great for kids—tide pooling, surfing, climbing!

Grab lunch or dinner at Cornerstone for the best pizza in the area, stock up on delightful tea at this super sweet tea shop, The Tea Space, or catch a play at Ogunquit Playhouse

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HOURS: 5am-11pm

PARKING: Six pay-to-park lots, no-fee parking also available

PUBLIC RESTROOMS: Yes

DOG-FRIENDLY: Dogs allowed on the beach from October 1st to March 30th, not allowed April 1st to September 9th

LIFEGUARDS: On duty June 20th to Labor Day


Wells Beach | Wells, ME

Wells boasts four beaches including Moody Beach, Crescent Beach, Wells Beach, and Drake’s Island Beach—all picturesque with soft sand dunes galore, and bordering marshlands. The southernmost tip of Wells Beach is actually connected to Ogunquit Beach (not by road though!) near the footbridge and town border! 

Wells is sprinkled with local gift shops, restaurants, and bathhouses, with free parking at the end of Mile Road. Paid parking is located at the end of Atlantic Avenue. Beach entrances are often times pathways sandwiched between homes and marked by number so it’s easy to determine which part of the beaches you’re on! Pack a picnic or stop by Tulsi North for some killer Indian food.

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HOURS: Not specified

ACTIVITIES: Kayak rental from Webhannet River Kayak Rental, sailboard, canoe rentals, fishing

PARKING: Pay and display meters or seasonal pass

PUBLIC RESTROOMS: Yes

DOG-FRIENDLY: From June 16 to September 15, dogs are not allowed on the beach, from 8am to 6pm, leash required

LIFEGUARD: On duty seven days a week from June to September


Parson’s Beach | Kennebunk, ME

Tucked away from the action, and footsteps away from the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge, Parson’s Beach is a secluded treasure. Privately-owned, this beach is open to all, though the parking is very limited. Ride your bike along the tree-lined road on your way, or go during the off-season for a beach walk or a quiet and relaxing visit. 

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HOURS: 5am-10pm

PARKING: Non-resident parking passes ($25 daily / $100 weekly / $200 season, can pay by Passport Parking Mobile Parking App, limited available spaces)

PUBLIC RESTROOMS: Porta-potty

DOG-FRIENDLY: Dogs are not allowed on the beach from June 15 to Labor Day 9am-5pm

LIFEGUARD: No lifeguard on duty


Gooch’s Beach | Kennebunk, ME

Also referred to as Kennebunk Beach, Gooch’s Beach is the longest stretch of beach property in Kennebunk, Maine, located on the same stretch as Middle Beach and Mother’s Beach

Parking passes (available for residents and visitors at the Town Hall) are required at all Kennebunk beaches, but you can also skip the car and take a trolley, or ride your bike from Dock Square—it’s a fairly easy and short commute! This beach has a sidewalk which is great for walking and running. Definitely drop by Boulangerie: A Proper Bakery for pastries and picnic snacks on your way in!

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HOURS: Dawn til Dusk

PARKING: Kennebunk permit required, ends at 11pm

PUBLIC RESTROOMS: Yes

DOG-FRIENDLY: Dogs are not allowed on the beach from June 15 to Labor Day 9am-5pm

LIFEGUARD: On-duty July through Labor Day


Goose Rocks Beach | Kennebunkport, ME

This three-mile-long beach is perfect for walkers! Goose Rocks Beach requires parking permits for all vehicles from Memorial Day through Labor Day, locals can purchase seasonal passes! If you’re vacationing in the Kennebunks and don’t have a pass, take hotel transportation, or ride your bike—it’s only a few miles away from Dock Square! 

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HOURS: Not specified

ACTIVITIES: Trust In Our Children & Discovery Days programs for learners of all ages

PARKING: Parking permits required: $15 daily, $50 weekly, $100 seasonal, Available for purchase at Kennebunkport Police station, Town Hall and the Goose Rocks General Store.

PUBLIC RESTROOMS: No

DOG-FRIENDLY

From April 1 to June 14th: 6-7:30am, dogs must be leashed or under voice/sight control. After 7:30am leash is required. 

From June 15 to September 30th: 6-7:30am, dogs must be leashed or under voice/sight control. 7:30-8:30am and after 6pm, leash is required. 8:30am-6pm no dogs allowed on the beach

LIFEGUARD: No lifeguard on duty


We’re sure you’ll have a fab time at another of these lovely Seacoast beaches! To make sure you get there during the tide you’re looking for—download our free tide charts below!

seacoast beaches tide chart